When people stand outside for over an hour after the time a film is supposed to begin, you know something amazing is about to happen. I was among at least 50 other ticket holders to see Machetero, one of the last movies shown at the New York International Latino Film Festival (NYILFF). Cataloged under “On The Edge,” Machetero tells a story of what some may call “revolutionary violence.”
As one of the largest crowds I saw in attendance to a film that was not marketed as a special screening, we were eager to get into the theater. Writer, director, and producer Vagabond was present and shared his excitement for the evening and also prepared us to see a film that was not like any other we've seen before.
With the entire soundtrack of Machetero coming from Puerto Rican punk band Ricanstruction's album, titled Liberation Day, the cast includes the lead vocalist from the band, Not4Profit as Pedro Taino, a self-identified Machetero fighting for the liberation of the island of Puerto Rico. Joining Not4Profit is Isaac de Bankolé (Casino Royale, Ghost Dog, and 3 A.M.) as French journalist Jean Dumont, Kelvin Fernandez as “the Young Rebel” who is inspired to revolutionary action after coming into contact with Pedro and his writings, and Dylcia Pagán former Puerto Rican political prisoner who plays a childhood mentor.
If you're wondering whether the wait to see Machetero was worth it, the answer is a definite yes. Machetero is one of the few Latino-based films that discusses Puerto Rico's controversial relationship with the United States, all while providing listeners the chance to explore up-and-coming alternative rock from the people whose voices are ready to be heard. This is one history lesson you won't want to miss!